How to maintain a tidy house with small kids
It’s such a joy having small kids. It is the most rewarding feeling. Seeing them run around the house, playing with their toys and messing up with stuff. Am even smiling just thinking about it.
On the flip side, kids can be so annoying and destructive. Am saying this out of love though. You can hardly keep your home neat and organized unless they are asleep or away from the house.
I grew up with a super clean and organized mom. She would smell dirt from a mile. The moment she entered the house from work, she could tell if the house was cleaned or not. And by clean I mean mopped with water and soap after sweeping. She was very specific about how she wanted her house to be tidied. Even now when she comes to visit I find myself going overboard with the cleaning.
An untidy, cluttered and messy house is so unappealing and depressing to be in. A dirty house is a health hazard to you and your children. In fact, a study by NiCole R. Keith, a research scientist, and professor at Indiana University revealed that people with clean houses are healthier than their counterparts. A clean house makes you more productive, sleep better and eat clean.
Let’s talk about how you can keep your home glammed up with our little ones around
First of all, define what clean and tidy is to you
For a mom, clean and tidy will mean a whole different thing altogether. It may mean a few toys in the living room area while some are stored in the toys basket. It may mean that there are times during the day when the house will be full of toys because it is play time. Do not work after perfection but a manageable tidiness.
Have a separate play area
If you can afford it, have a separate room where kids can go and play. Put all the toys in there and strictly maintain that there should not be playing elsewhere unless it’s just a few toys. Train your kids to put their toys in the playroom. If you can’t afford a whole room, try allocating a small area of the house for playtime. It could even be in their room but which they can tidy after playing.
Teach your kids to clean after themselves.
From an early age, teach them to pick up their toys and clean up their messes. This will reduce the workload for you and it’s a win-win situation, the kids will get to still be kids and the house will still be neat. It can be a bit challenging with toddlers when starting out but they will catch up with time. Teach them how to organize their rooms, make their beds, put away their toys and even to care for their stuff. After eating, they should be able to take their plates and cups to the sink and the older kids should each wash their utensils. Life will become so much easier for you.
Training your kids is not easy at first but very rewarding in the long run. Reward them for a job well done to motivate them
Come up with systems and Routine
I remember some time back when we didn’t have a nanny, my husband comes up with house rules and a routine checklist for our 8year old in order to keep the house organized. This really worked as we knew what was expected from the time we woke up. The checklist incorporated her room cleaning, her studying timetable, and general house tidiness.
You can do the same and distribute the chores amongst your family members. I find that people tend to be more responsible with house tidiness when they know the amount of work that goes into it. Plus you need some help to keep sane. Involve your husband and kids and you will see the difference.
You can come up with a daily routine like this one:
- No breakfast before bed making and taking a shower
- Always wash your utensils after using
- All dirty clothes must be kept in the laundry basket
- Always return things to where you picked them from
- Clean up your shoes and put them back to the shoe rack
- After dinner, wash your utensils and clean up the house before sleeping. There is something about waking up to a clean house.
- Whoever is cooking should clean up immediately after cooking
Keep it minimal
I find that houses with fewer things are easier to keep tidy than houses full of household stuff. Keep away things that you don’t use often and give out or sell things that you don’t use at all. Stop being a hoarder. Keep it to the bare minimal.
De-clutter your house every so often, at least twice a year. You will see how manageable it is to keep the house tidy and organized.
Invest in storage items
Invest in creative ways of storing your items. Whether it is toys, kitchen items or bedroom garments. I find that using storage boxes makes the house look more organized plus it’s easier for kids to manage.
Store your belonging according to what they are; it’s easier when you know what is where instead of just going through a pile of clothes just to find a pillowcase.
With small kids to look after, be flexible, there will be days when you will simply not catch up with the cleanliness. Don’t stress a lot about it. Your kids are more important so if they demand your attention and you are not able to wash the piled up utensils in the kitchen sink, then so be it. You can never be a perfect mum and a housekeeper at a go. If you feel overwhelmed you can always hire a house help or a cleaning lady to help out. That way you can focus on the kids as someone else is focusing on your house.